How the City used CARES Act funds from the state

In 2020, the City of Lakewood received a total of $2.685 Million dollars in CARES Act funds through the state of Washington. These funds were used for COVID-19 related expenses incurred between March 1, 2020 and November 30, 2020 by small and commercial businesses, residential landlords for tenant rental assistance, community partners, non-profits, other government entities, and the City of Lakewood.

On March 27, 2020, the federal government passed the $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). The purpose of the CARES Act was to provide fast and direct economic assistance for individuals, businesses, and local governments. Specific to local governments in Washington, CARES Act funds were designed to be used to cover expenses that meet all three of the following criteria:

  1. Necessary expenditures caused by the public health emergency with respect to COVID-19.
  2. Expenditures not accounted for in a budget approved as of March 27, 2020.
  3. Expenditures incurred from March 1, 2020 to November 30, 2020.

CARES Act funds were provided directly to jurisdictions across the country with populations of over 500,000. Given this population threshold, the City of Lakewood, with a population of around 60,000, did not directly receive CARES Act funds from the federal government.

However, in May 2020, Governor Jay Inslee announced that the State of Washington would share a portion of its CARES Act funds it received from the federal government with Washington cities and counties that did not meet the 500,000-population threshold.

In the first of what ended up being two rounds of state CARES Act funding, the state provided cities and counties that did not receive CARES Act funds directly a per capita distribution of $30 with a minimum distribution of $25,000 for cities and $250,000 for counties. As a result of this allocation, for the first round, the City of Lakewood received $1.79 million in state allocated CARES Act funds.

In late August, Governor Inslee announced a second round of funding that allocated a total of $126 million to cities and towns of under 500,000 population. For the City of Lakewood, this amounted to an additional $895,050 in state CARES Act funds.

With these two rounds, the City of Lakewood received a total of $2,685,150 in CARES Act funds from the state.
In June, the Lakewood City Council adopted a set of principles area to guide the allocation of these funds.

The principles areas established were:

  • Individual and Family Economic Resilience
  • Business Assistance
  • Vital Government Services

The following table provides a breakdown of how the City used its CARES Act funding from the state within each of the Lakewood City Council’s principle areas and subcategories within each area.

Want to take a dynamic look at how the City used its CARES Act funds from the state? Check our the City’s CARES Act Dashboard by clicking here or scroll to the bottom of this article.

Individual and Family Economic Resilience

In total 861K (32%) of the City’s CARES Act funds from the state were allocated to programs and entities that supported individual and family economic resilience. Specifically, funding in this category went to support:

  1. individuals in the community with rental assistance;
  2. local community groups and non-profits to sustain safe services and programming; and
  3. local childcare providers to provide safe services.

The bulk of the funds in this area went to help individuals with residential rental assistance. The City provided $621K of these funds to Living Access Support Alliance (LASA) in order for LASA to pay landlords and lenders rent for households impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. To qualify for these funds, a household’s total combined income had to be $60,000 per year or less (120% of the area median income).

The City also provided funds to the following community partners:

  • Communities in Schools Lakewood
  • Greater Lakes Mental Health
  • Pierce County AIDS Foundation
  • Rebuilding Hope! Sexual Assault Center
  • Tacoma Community House
  • YMCA
  • YWCA
  • Pierce County Library

These funds were used to provide additional case management, food and basic needs, virtual and in-person programming and services, facility safety and technology improvements, and personal protection equipment.

The City of Lakewood also created the Child Care Provider Grant which distributed a total of $47,656 to 23 licensed child care providers in Lakewood to increase safety measures and help maintain healthy environments at their facilities.

Business Assistance

In total, $1.04M (around 39%) of the City’s CARES Act funds from the state were distributed to Business Assistance programs.

With these funds, the City created the Small Business Coronavirus Relief Fund Grant, which was available to independently owned Lakewood businesses with 20 or fewer employees. Businesses that met these criteria were allowed to apply for up to $10,000 in grant funds for COVID-19 related expenses. In total, the City allocated $667K to this program, which in turn provided grants to 72 Lakewood small businesses.

With the second round of funding from the state, the City created the Lakewood Commercial Landlord Coronavirus Relief Fund Grant and allocated just over $370K to this program. This grant program provided rental relief to Lakewood commercial landlords that lost revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The program provided up to $5,000 per month per location and up to six and a half (6.5) months of assistance, for a maximum of $37,500, for each tenant that a landlord has within a property.

Vital Government Services

The City allocated a total of 787K of the City’s CARES Act funds from the state to support government services. This included providing funding to government services external to the City that did not directly receive CARES Act funds from the federal government. Funds were used for COVID-19 related expense and projects, including covering residential utility bills.

External to the City

A total of $245,872 (9%) of the City’s CARES Act funds from the state were provided to public partners, including:

  • West Pierce Fire and Rescue
  • Pierce County Library
  • Lakewood Water District (for covering residents’ utility bills)
  • Nourish Pierce County
Internal City Uses

A total of 541K (20%) of the City’s CARES Act funds from the state were used for COVID-19 related facility safety improvements, acquiring new technology to expand the City’s remote capabilities, personal protection equipment for employees and the public attending City events and meetings, and for payroll reimbursement.


In the CARES Act, Congress also provided $5 billion for Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) programs. The City received two special allocations of (CDBG) funds totaling $807,337 for COVID-19 related expenses. Funds can be used for the following activities:

  • Public service activities
  • Housing-related activities
  • Public improvements and facilities
  • Activities to acquire real property
  • Economic development activities
  • General administrative and planning activities

To date, the City has used these funds for the CDBG Coronavirus Business Grant and the COVID-19 Emergency HOME Tenant-Based Rental Assistance Program. More information will follow on these funds and programs.

CARES ACT Funding Dashboard

For a full display of the dashboard click here.